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Ziegler v. Natera

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

July 10, 2019

Hector Ziegler, Appellant,
v.
Raquel Alonso Natera, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An appeal from a non-final order from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower Tribunal No. 17-10602 Migna Sanchez-Llorens, Judge.

          Jarbath Peña Law Group, P.A., and Fritznie Jarbath, for appellant.

          Law Office of Rick Yabor, P.A., and Rick Yabor, for appellee.

          Before LINDSEY, HENDON, and MILLER, JJ.

          MILLER, J.

         Appellant, Hector Ziegler, the husband, challenges the trial court's order invalidating an antenuptial agreement prepared by his counsel and executed by appellee, Raquel Alonso Natera, the wife, on the eve of their wedding in Venezuela. We assign no error and, accordingly, affirm.[1]

         FACTS

         In 2011, the parties planned to marry in Venezuela. Six days before their wedding, the husband presented the wife with a draft of an antenuptial agreement. At the time, the wife was four months pregnant with their second child. The only financial disclosures contained within the document were perfunctory references to the husband's ownership of certain nominal non-convertible bearer shares with corresponding assigned nominal values. The agreement did not provide for equitable distribution or alimony. The husband allowed the wife to peruse the document and then assured her that he would furnish full financial disclosures prior to the wedding.[2]

         The day before the wedding, having not yet provided any financial documentation, the husband threatened to cancel the ceremony if the wife did not sign the agreement, and advised her that a failure to obtain the marriage certificate on the planned date would thwart the couple's imminent plan to emigrate to the United States.[3] The wife reluctantly signed the agreement and the marriage was solemnized, however, the union did not endure.[4]

         Less than six years later, the husband initiated dissolution proceedings in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The wife sought to invalidate the antenuptial agreement, contending it was the product of "duress, coercion, or overreaching," and was unconscionable, as it had been executed in the absence of full and fair financial disclosure, and thus, was properly avoidable under Florida law.[5] See § 61.079(7)(a), Fla. Stat. (2019). Following an evidentiary hearing, convened to determine the circumstances surrounding the execution of the agreement, the court entered an order concluding the agreement had been executed under duress and in the absence of both full financial disclosure and waiver of said disclosure.[6] This appeal ensued.

         JURISDICTION AND STANDARD OF REVIEW

         We have jurisdiction pursuant to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130(a)(3)(C)(iii)c. "We review a trial court's determination of the voidability of an antenuptial agreement for competent, substantial evidence." Bakos v. Bakos, 950 So.2d 1257, 1259 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007) (citing Simzer v. Simzer, 514 So.2d 372, 373 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987)). "[T]he findings of the trial court come to this court clothed with a presumption of correctness[, ] and will not be disturbed absent a showing that there was no competent evidence to sustain them." Baker v. Baker, 394 So.2d 465, 466 (Fla. 4th DCA 1981) (citations omitted); see also Schreiber v. Schreiber, 795 So.2d 1054, 1057 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001); Snedaker v. Snedaker, 660 So.2d 1070, 1072-73 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995).

         LEGAL ...


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